Legal Coaching in Ontario
If you’re involved in a lawsuit in Ontario, it is almost always best to be represented by a skilled lawyer, who is familiar with the law and has experience in court (much as a kitchen renovation is usually done best by an experienced contractor who has done it many, many times before). However, given the amount of time involved with even routine legal matters (and often the value of matters in dispute), that is not always financially feasible. That’s where legal coaching can help.
What is Legal Coaching?
Legal coaching is in effect ‘limited legal assistance’ whereby one of our lawyers spends a limited amount of time with you, perhaps an hour or two (or more), in an effort to help you put your best foot forward, by reviewing the law, the facts, the documents, and providing advice and guidance as to how to best make your case. This can be helpful at all stages of the litigation process, from drafting the Statement of Claim, Statement of Defence, preparing for discoveries and/or trial.
How can Legal Coaching Help?
While in most cases not a substitute for a lawyer, legal coaching can help to identify (legal) issues that are likely not apparent to those who lack formal legal training, and provide direction as to how to present your arguments more effectively to the court. Ultimately, most legal matters are formulistic and based upon recognized legal ‘causes of action’ or theories. For example, if you took your car to a mechanic for repair, paid, and the problem wasn’t fixed, your ‘legal action’ would be based in ‘breach of contract.’ Breach of contract in turn involves the following elements:
- A legally enforceable agreement (i.e. drug dealers are out of luck when the cocaine is not delivered);
- A breach of that agreement; and
- Damages arising (directly) from that breach.
Legal coaching can also assist with the problem of ‘tunnel vision,’ which occurs when you see your case so clearly, and are so convinced that you are right that you in effect believe you can’t lose. Given the nature of law, there are often arguments on either side of issues. In civil cases, such arguments typically center around liability, damages or both. As it is our job to be objective, we will inform you of any risks we perceive of which you are perhaps not aware. Keep in mind, half the people who end up in court lose (with the majority of those assuming they were in fact going to win).
Is legal coaching a substitute for having a lawyer?
No. Much as in hockey, where a good coach can analyze your shot and tell you what you need to work on, execution depends upon your natural talents and the amount of work you put in. Most hearings and other matters at court (trials) require well in excess of ten hours of legal preparation, from lawyers, who attended law school, and who have in many cases practiced law for years. While coaching can help to point you in the right direction and to present your case more effectively, it is unlikely to turn you into the next Mike Ross or Harvey Specter (Suits).
What makes for an effective coaching session?
Like in court, to get the most out of a coaching session, it pays to be prepared. If your matter is already in court, you should be prepared to send me (in pdf) the Statement of Claim, Statement of Defence, and have clear questions set out when you call to set up the appointment (i.e. what should I be doing to prepare for trial) so that I can determine whether I may be able to provide you with effective guidance in a coaching session, and the minimum duration required. I typically like to review those documents during the coaching session, as they provide the foundation for the claim.
How does coaching differ from a limited scope retainer?
Coaching is a form of limited scope retainer, in that you will pay me for a set amount of time to assist with your matter (often in a behind the scenes manner). Frequently, this occurs where parties are self represented in small claims court, and they want some assistance in the lead up to the settlement conference and/or trial, although I have in the past also provided coaching on more complex matters, including appeals. While not technically ‘coaching’ I am also frequently retained to assist with the drafting of claims and defences, which I likewise do under a limited scope retainer. For those unfamiliar with the term, ‘limited scope retainer’ in this context simple means I am paid for a set number of hours of time, after which my responsibilities have been discharged. I remain available for additional coaching sessions on an as needed basis.
Do you offer coaching for any matters outside of Ontario
No. I am currently only licensed and insured in Ontario. For any legal issue outside of Ontario, you will need to find a local lawyer to assist.
Why Choose Michael’s Firm
In addition to being a Peer Reviewed lawyer, Michael has experience with all stages of civil litigation, and has additionally written and taught on both discovery and trials. Additionally, Michael was recently elected by his colleagues to the Board of Directors of the Law Society of Ontario.
By filling out our Contact Form or calling us at 1-647-495-8995 we will be happy to set up a legal coaching consultation, which can be provided virtually or in person.